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Information governance?

The Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) helps protect patients by providing laws to ensure adherence to the principles of good information governance.

Information governance is the set of standards we must follow in handling personal healthcare records. Good information governance means that all personal health information is handled legally, securely, efficiently and effectively in order to deliver the best possible care to people who use our services. It also includes sharing of relevant personal health information with our service users where appropriate.

What does it involve?

  • We must protect the confidentiality of the information –information provided in confidence should not be used or disclosed in a way that might identify an individual without their consent
  • We must manage our records effectively. This means that information should be accurate, up to date and accessible when it is needed.
  • We must ensure that information is kept securely and is accessed only by those who should be accessing it.

What will we use the information for

The people who provide healthcare to you will use your records to:

  • Confirm who you are when we contact you, or when you contact us
  • Make decisions about your on-going care and treatment
  • Make sure your care is safe and effective
  • Check the quality of your care

Do I have a choice

No. If you wish to receive safe and appropriate care and treatment at any of our hospitals we must maintain an accurate record of relevant information about you. However, if you have any concerns about providing information or how we share this information with other healthcare providers, please discuss this with our staff so that you fully understand the potential impact on your care or treatment.

Do you share information about me with anyone


Yes, we may also share relevant information about you with other organisations, such as:

  • Other hospitals/institutions that are actively involved in your care and treatment.
  • Your GP
  • Health Professionals affiliated to the hospital, who are actively engaged in your care and treatment
  • National Health Databases such as the National Cancer Registry.

When we do share information with other organisations involved in your care, we do so under a formal agreement about how it will be used and kept confidential. This can be explained further on admission. We will not disclose your information to any other third parties without your permission unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as if the health and safety of others is at risk or if the law requires us to pass on information.

Relevant information about you may also be used to help us to:

  • Receive payment from your health insurance provider.
  • Teach and train our staff .
  • Manage and plan our services
  • Help investigate concerns or complaints that you or your family may have about your healthcare.

Wherever possible we use information that would not identify you personally (anonymous information) but we will let you know if we are using your data for this purpose.

Using your information for research

Research has a vital role to play in the development of healthcare and health service delivery. The Bon Secours are teaching hospitals and we support and promote research activity within the hospital. Our Research Ethics Committee must approve research before it takes place. If we wish to use your personal information for research then we will ask you for permission first. You will not be identified in any published results without your agreement.

How do I keep my records confidential?

Everyone working in the Bon Secours Health System has a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. Anyone who receives information from us is also under a legal duty to keep it secure and confidential by EU Directive. You have the right to confidentiality under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Acts, 1988 and 2003 and GDPR 2016 (in force May 2018)

Can I see Information you hold about me

Yes. You have the right to access any information we hold about you. The GDPR and Data Protection Act allow you to find what information is held about you.

How Can I Access My Medical Records?

Patients can request their own personal health records or the records of a dependant by contacting us directly. We encourage requesters to contact the relevant hospital Department to ensure that the correct information is given and to narrow the field of enquiry. Contact details are shown in the table below.

Bon Secours Data Protection Representatives (DPR):




eMail Address


Cork Hospital

Paul Reidy


Medical Records Dept,

Bon Secours Hospital,

College Road,


T12 DV56

Dublin Hospital

Shereen Dunne


Medical Records Dept,

Bon Secours Hospital,

Glasnevin Hill, Glasnevin,
Dublin 9,
D09 YN97

Galway Hospital

Margaret McHugh


Medical Records Dept,

Bon Secours Hospital,
Co. Galway
H91 KC7H

Limerick Hospital

Sarah O’Sullivan


Medical Records Dept,

Bon Secours Hospital at Barringtons,

George’s Quay,
V94 HE2T

Tralee Hospital

Olivia Pryal


Medical Records Dept,

Bon Secours Hospital,
Strand Street, Tralee,
Co. Kerry.
V92 P663

Cork Care Village

Tracy Cahill


Bon Secours Care Village,
Mount Desert,

Lee Road,
T23 D30F


For your convenience and in the interests of processing your request more efficiently we have provided a form that you can complete and send to the relevant hospital as per the table above. This is available using a link at the bottom of this page.


Access to the Patient Records of Others

If you wish to discuss your application for deceased patient records, please contact the relevant DPR directly using contact information above.

Parental consent will be required to process the personal data of children under the age of 16.

Charges for getting information

There is no fee for personal information requests.

 Informed Patient Consent- Adults

Informed Consent is giving permission or agreement for an examination, intervention or treatment following a conversation in which the patient has received enough information to enable him/her to understand the nature and potential risks and benefits of the proposed examination, intervention or treatment.


In order to be valid consent must be:

Voluntary- not influenced by Healthcare Professionals. The person must understand that they have a choice.

Informed- the person must be given all the information they require regarding the examination, intervention or treatment. Information must include risks as well as benefits, any alternatives to the proposed examination, intervention or treatment and possible complications.

The person must have the Capacity to consent- the ability to understand the nature and consequences of a decision at the time the decision is to be made. The person should ask questions if they don’t understand any of the information given to them. A person is always presumed to have the capacity to consent unless the opposite has been demonstrated.

A person lacks capacity if their mind is impaired or disturbed in some way, and this means the person is unable to make a decision at that time. A person’s capacity is assessed each time a decision needs to be made, as a person’s capacity can change. Capacity is assessed by the healthcare professional who is asking for the person’s consent. 

Consent can be:

Verbal : “Can I examine your tummy?” “Yes.”

Implied : “Can I take your blood pressure?” Patient holds arm up.

Written:  Signing a consent form for an operation. We will always request our patients to do this. The procedure cannot take place without a written consent.

In emergency situations where the treatment is immediately necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the person the necessary treatment may be administered without expressed consent.  


 Role of the family

No other person such as a family member, friends or carer can give or refuse consent on behalf of an incapacitated adult unless they have specific legal authority to do so.

Their role is to provide greater insight into the person’s previously expressed views and preferences and to outline what the person wanted to do.


For children under the age of 16 years, a parent or legal guardian can consent to the treatment of the child. Minors who have reached 16 years of age can give consent to any surgical, medical or dental treatment as if they had reached adult age. It is not necessary to obtain any consent from his or her parent or guardian; however it is good practice to involve the parent or guardian if the 16 or 17 year old wishes. 


Data Protection Officer

For further information or queries about your data and your data protection rights, please contact the Data Protection Officer, Bon Secours Health System, Bon Secours Group Offices, 7 Riverwalk, Citywest, Dublin 24, D24 H2CE, phone: 01  685 4474, email: dpo@bonsecours.ie.


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